Santa Barbara Inventors to Be Featured on the History Channel

Invention USA Examines the Life Cube

The Life Cube
Courtesy Photo

Tune in to the History Channel this Friday, December 16, at 7 p.m. to see local inventors Michael Connor and Nick Peterson show off their creation, the Life Cube, on the new series Invention USA. The television show follows experts Reichart Von Wolfshield and Dr. Garrett Lisi around the country in search of the next great American innovation, and they just may find it in Santa Barbara.

Connor and Peterson have been working on the Life Cube since 2005, and they are thrilled for their upcoming appearance on the History Channel. “It’s our first real national exposure, and the production value is great,” said Peterson. “We love Reichart and Garrett; they’re really intelligent people. They’re going to help us engineer the product to the next level. It just feels good after five years to get that kind of recognition — that this is a cool piece of technology, and we want to show people.”

The Life Cube is a simple yet powerful idea. Connor came up with it after watching the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. “What we saw was all of these people dying because resources weren’t available or they couldn’t get them there. So, basically, [Connor] had the idea to design a box that has everything a disaster victim needs in it. He came up with a few sketches; I got involved around that time and helped to write the business plan.”

With Connor’s product idea and Peterson’s business skills, they developed a few prototypes of their invention. It’s an inflatable polyvinyl cube made of the same material as Zodiac life rafts. “It’s a five-foot cube that unfolds and inflates,” explained Peterson. “In five minutes, two people can have a 144-square-foot house. It comes complete with food, water, communication, electricity, and first aid.”

These Life Cubes have been designed so that they can be airdropped anywhere on Earth, so even in the most remote locations, victims of disasters need not wait for days or weeks to get food, water, generators, or a means of communication.

Connor and Peterson had their first chance to test the Life Cube in an actual disaster this May after a tornado hit the town of Joplin, Missouri. The tornado destroyed about 2,000 buildings, damaging about 25 percent of the town, according to a local branch of the Red Cross.

“We were down at a show in New Orleans, but we cut out of that to head up to Joplin,” said Peterson. “We set up right there at St. John’s Hospital. This was kind of our breakout year, and it was nice to be able to respond to disaster.” Connor, Peterson, and their Life Cubes helped the first responders at St. John’s tend to tornado victims.

Life Cube has the potential to revolutionize how people respond to and prepare for natural disasters all over the world and is already being sold to nonprofit organizations like the Red Cross and government agencies like FEMA. Connor and Peterson are even talking to their first military customers. And they plan on making Life Cubes even more readily available to anyone in need around the world. “Our goal is to preposition units in strategic locations all around the world so that when a disaster happens, we can have units on the ground within 24 hours. None of this waiting a week to find the supplies,” said Peterson.

“We would like to thank the Technology Management program at UCSB,” he added. “They really helped us with our development in the early days when I was a student there,” said Peterson. “We would also like to thank Inventors Workshop International, a nonprofit here that really gave us the confidence to move forward with the project.” To learn more about the Life Cube, visit To learn more about the History Channel’s Invention USA, visit its Web site, and be sure to tune in this Friday at 7 p.m.


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